Marion basketball splits with Eureka (Dec. 9)

The Warriors split success with Eureka tonight in the second round of pool play at the Warrior Classic, with the girls losing the first game, 57-43, and the boys’ winning the second by 13 points, 53-40. The boys stand at 2-1 for the season and the girls are at 0-3. 

The Marion boys are scheduled to play against Remington at 4:30 Saturday to compete for a third-place finish. The girls were scheduled to play at 12 p.m. Saturday against the loser of Friday’s Belle Plaine vs. Peabody-Burns game. 

Boys – 

Marion looked to bounce back tonight after a tough overtime loss to Berean last night, and they found the spark in go-to guy Jordan Hett, who was looking for personal redemption as well after going scoreless in last night’s game. Hett put up 20 points on the night, with fellow mainstay Harper also having a strong game with 14 points, to give Marion a 53-40 victory in the second round of pool play at the Warrior Classic. The win gives them a 2-1 overall record.

The Warriors started off a little sluggish offensively, depending on Hett’s six points to keep them in a hard-fought game. Marion trailed, 13-8, at the end of the first quarter. 

But the second quarter was an entirely different story, with four lead changes and a combined 30 points scored. Marion came out hot and Eureka responded to make it a neck-and neck struggle.

Hett started the action, sinking a basket and making his free throw at 6:28 to make it 13-11 and put the Warrior s within two points. The Tornadoes came back with a three-pointer, but senior Mikael Antoszyk found the basket from beyond the arc to again put Marion within two, 16-14. Taylor Heidebrecht hit another three pointer just 30 seconds later at 5:20, and Antoszyk scored with a lay-up off a steal to give Marion a 19-18 lead. 

Jacob Harper would get the steal 30 seconds later and again convert it into points for the Warriors, putting them up, 23-20. But Eureka put four unanswered points on the board to again take the lead. Heidebrecht snagged another steal with two minutes left and put it in Harper’s hands to give Marion a 25-24 lead. But with 1:46 remaining Eureka scored again, allowing them a one-point lead, 26-25, going into the break. 

If the fans were concerned the moment of scoring magic was over for the Warriors, they need not have worried. Marion came out with their strongest play in the second half, averaging 62 percent shooting from the field and 25 percent from beyond the arc to out-score Eureka, 28-14, in the half. 

Harper set the tone for the second half at 7:12, scoring off a steal to give Marion a 27-26 lead. Scott Jones scored back-to-back baskets, one off a steal, to put the Warriors up by five points at 5:59, 31-26. Harper and Heidebrecht each put up a basket for the Warriors at 4:39 and 1:50, Harper’s part of a 12-0 scoring run for Marion in the half of the third quarter. But it was Hett who dominated for Marion, stealing balls, scoring in the lane in traffic, hitting the jump shot and making the assist for Heidebrecht. Zach Robson scored off a rebound with just 55 seconds left to help Marion to a seven-point lead, 43-36, at the end of the quarter.

Hett hit a jump shot at 7:45 and penetrated to the basket for the score a minute later to give the Warriors an 11-point lead, 47-36, in the first minute and a half of the final quarter. Harper scored off a Jones assist at 5:13 to give Marion their biggest lead of the game, 49-36. 

Eureka drew within nine points with 2:11 left to play, but Robson snagged a pass from Hett and sank a three-pointer at 1:31 to once again give Marion a comfortable 12-point lead. Hett made a free throw with a minute remaining to secure the 13-point victory, 53-40, and round out his 20 points scored on the night. 

Harper also made double digits with 14 points, but other Warriors made significant contributions with Robson, Antoszyk and Heidebrecht each putting up five points. 

In a game where turnovers proved to be a huge factor, considering that the Warriors had 23 points off turnovers to Eureka’s six, Hett and Heidebrecht were major players with four steals each. Harper and Antoszyk each nabbed two, contributing to Marion’s 14 steals to Eureka’s seven. 

The Warriors also did better on the boards, improving from last night’s game – where they were out-rebounded, 27-19, and had just one offensive rebound – to out-rebound Eureka, 30-27. They also had 11 offensive rebounds to the Tornadoes’ eight and beat them in second-chance points, 12-5. 

Marion shot at 44 percent on the night from the field, comparable to Eureka, but the Tornadoes were considerably better from beyond the arc, making 36 percent to Marion’s 15 percent. The Warriors won at the line, averaging 71 percent to Eureka’s 33 percent. 

Girls – 

The Marion girls scored first in tonight’s game with Eureka, but that was about the extent of their momentum as they fell by 14 points, 57-43, to put their record at 0-3.

Erin Meierhoff scored on the tip-off to start the Warriors off on the right foot, but Eureka ran away from Marion with 11 unanswered points in the course of the next few minutes. Senior Whitney Gordon finally scored again off an offensive rebound to make it 11-4 at 3:24, and Katey Ehrlich chipped in another basket a minute later, but the Warriors still trailed, 19-6, at the end of the first quarter. 

Gordon and Kelli Hess combined for four back-to-back points early in the third half, but Eureka continued to dominate. The Tornadoes held a 30-19 lead going into the break, despite a basket from Ehrlich with four seconds left. 

The Warriors heated up coming out of the locker room, finding more of a scoring groove. Megan Richmond scored four points early and found the basket once more on a second-chance shot to give Marion six points in the third quarter. Gordon also heated up offensively, scoring seven points in the quarter.

But it was Ehrlich who had the key play, stealing the ball and scoring with 3:46 remaining. She was fouled and sank her free throw to bring the Warriors within nine points for the first time since the initial five minutes of the game. Marion out-scored Eureka, 15-14, in the third quarter. 

But Marion hit a scoring drought on the last quarter. They were out-scored, 13-9, in the fourth to give Eureka the 57-43 victory. 

As in the boys’ game, turnovers were a key factor for the Warriors, but this time to opposite effect. Marion had 33 turnovers to Eureka’s 11 and were out-scored, 15-7, on second-chance points. They did better on the boards than in last night’s game, out-rebounding Eureka 49-45 overall and 37-25 in defensive rebounds, thanks in large part to Gordon’s 21 rebounds. 

Gordon led the Warriors with 15 points on the night, but she was joined in the double digits by Megan Richmond, who put up 10 points. Ehrlich also had a strong game with nine points and Hess contributed six. The Warriors had a shooting average of 31 percent from the field and 20 percent from beyond the arc, comparable to Eureka, but won at the line with 62 percent to the Tornadoes’ 47 percent. 

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